Final 1.2 miles to Hurricane Visitor Center (upper left)
US Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb
“A contender for the most difficult climb in Washington, Hurricane Ridge is a long and scenic ride into spectacular Olympic National Park along a mostly moderate and consistent grade. After 0.3 miles you will pass the lower national park Visitor’s Center on the right. Just beyond the road splits to the right. After another ~5 miles of moderate grade climbing and with views in places you reach the national park entrance station. A few miles beyond the entrance station you will pass through three short tunnels one right after another on the way up. More mostly steady grade climbing follows and near the top of the hill the trees part to reveal amazing views of snow capped peaks on clear days. The climb ends at the upper national park Visitor’s Center on the left at over 5,000 feet (the road continues beyond the Visitor’s Center for a short distance but descends and then dead ends). There is often weather in the area during each season but the road is open all year (plowed in winter). Make sure you carry cold/wet weather gear at all times on this one.” (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 224.)
Climb summary by PJAMM’s John Johnson.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center - just right of photo center.
Hurricane Ridge bike climb ends at the Visitor Center.
Mt. Olympus is the middle peak left-center of photo.
WOW . . . in our opinion Hurricane Ridge is one of THE most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., most of which travels through spectacular Olympic National Park in Washington state. This is an exceptional climb for many reasons including gorgeous scenery, magnificent views, the incredible road, super fun descent, heavily forested for most of the climb, in a National Park.
23 seconds of Hurricane Ridge
Our full 3:42 YouTube Video of Hurricane Ridge
Visit our Olympic National Park page.
Before heading out to tackle Hurricane Ridge, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.
The climb begins in Port Angeles, Washington, a couple hours drive from Seattle with no traffic; see ferry details below for alternate access to the climb. Taking advantage of Washington’s extensive and affordable ferry system is not a bad option!
It’s a trek to get to, but you don’t have to drive . . .
. . . Seattle in our ferry’s rear view mirror . . . 👍
There is an annual bicycle-only-day (Ride the Hurricane) in early August each year beginning at the Port Angeles City Pier and ending at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The event was even (safely) held during the pandemic on August 2, 2020.
Climb begins in Port Angeles (football legend John Elway’s birthplace).
We pass Olympic National Park Visitor Center at mile one and come to the park’s toll booth at mile 6.2. There is a $15 entrance fee for cyclists as of July, 2019 (up from $7 August 2015).
Enter the National Park at mile 5.
$15 for the younguns . . .for the olduns . . .
. . . the “good news” - $80 lifetime pass at 62 . . .
. . . the bad news - your 62!
From our entrance into the park to the top of the climb 12 miles later, we have many exceptional views of the surrounding mountains, ultimately viewing Mt. Olympus, the highest point in the Olympic Mountains. You can also see the Puget Sound/Strait of Juan de Fuca, the international boundary between Canada and U.S. We are a stone's throw from the Canadian border at the beginning of the climb.
Port Angeles and Strait of Juan de Fuca in the background
Now that’s bike friendly!
As with many of the most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., the cyclist has a great advantage over the motorist: we can stop to take in the view or photograph anywhere we wish, cross the road, stop, and edge down the mountain a bit for better views between trees. We truly feel that the best way to see these great rides is from the saddle of a bike. We cannot say enough about this climb. It is a must-do for anyone willing to travel a bit to experience one of the top cycling climbs in the U.S. It is easily accessible, especially if you are planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest for cycling.
A few points we can pass on regarding this one:
Wildflowers from early spring into fall, depending on your elevation.
Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center
Mt. Olympus in the background
John, Stacy and Bruce 7-31-19
Visitor Center overlook
Store and grill.
Much wildlife around the VC.
3 tunnels mid way up the climb . . .
. . . bring rear flashing lights.
Hurricane Ridge from above.
Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 3.4 (12.7%) and steepest mile begins at mile 1.3 (8.9%)
How did Hurricane Ridge get its name?
According to Exotichikes.com, the story goes that on an incredibly windy day in 1897, W.A. Hall, a prospector, climbed up to Hurricane Ridge from the Elwha River. As he passed the breathtaking scenes of wildflowers, marmots, deer, and other flora and fauna, he made his way to the summit of what is now known as Hurricane Hill. “Standing atop one of the best views in the world, he was struggling” to maintain his footing. He leaned forward in order to remain upright, with “his long white beard blowing in his weather beaten face. As the 100 mile per hour winds slammed against him, he muttered, ‘This must be a dag-gum Hurricane.’
Ok, that probably isn’t what he said, but the story is still 100% real. Hurricane Ridge was named because a prospector decided, on a super windy day, to go stand on top of a mountain.”
How to get to Hurricane Ridge:
If one is interested in adding to the scenic trip to Hurricane Ridge and Olympic National Park, take the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry if you are coming from Seattle. The Ferry runs every 1½ hours (schedule) from the Seattle Terminal at the 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, just 13 miles north of SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). The main website for the terminal lists the space available for the upcoming six ferries. We encourage the ferry crossings as this really does add to the overall experience of this exceptional journey. (Photo note: This is a photo from the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry that we took on our way back from Port Angeles and Olympic National Park - this is the closest ferry crossing to the mainland from Port Angeles but is 32 miles north of SeaTac).
We prefer the ferry to the drive.
Mt. Rainier to the south as seen from the ferry.
Mt. Baker to the north
Generally, it is about 20 to 40 minutes faster to drive than take the Edmonds-Kingston or Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry, but, as we stated above, we much prefer the ferry.
It’s a little quicker by car.
Edmonds Ferry upper gray line and Seattle car route is in blue.
Where to stay when riding Hurricane Ridge.
We stayed in Port Angeles at the Red Lion Inn each of our 2 trips to climb Hurricane Ridge. Red Lion rooms with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca were about $200 per night as of July, 2019.
Red Lion via drone - Hurricane Ridge in background.
Restaurant and free cruisers at the Red Lion.
What else to do while Visiting Hurricane Ridge.
We flew into Seattle on July 29 and flew out August 1, staying 2 ½ days in Port Angeles. While there we hiked Hurricane Ridge (3 mild but scenic trails at the top), hiked the Hoh Rainforest, visited Mayfield Falls, toured the Sequim Wild Animal Farm and visited one of the famed Sequim lavender farms.
Hoh Rainforest - Olympic NP
Madison Falls, Olympic NP
B&B Family Farm, Sequim, WA
Olympic Game Farm, Sequim, WA
That’s a wrap!
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